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Sustainability Means Business

Published onJan 04, 2023
Sustainability Means Business

23 Wake Forest J. Bus. & Intell. Prop. L. 1.

A “business” is a legal structure for earning money. Accordingly, businesses make products and sell them or perform services and get paid money for doing so. Tied closely to the idea of business, particularly in the twenty-first century, is how to buy and sell goods and services sustainably.

“Sustainability” is a word that was seldom heard until the latter part of the twentieth century. Concepts tied to sustainability include climate change, greenhouse gases, and global warming. The genesis of focusing on sustainability, and “a more generalized concern for the environment itself, occurred in the late 1960s, in both the United States as well as around the world.” In 1969, the United Nations General Assembly convened a “conference to formulate policy alternatives for governments facing environmental issues. And so, the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment occurred in Stockholm in 1972, the same year that the United States Congress passed the Clean Water Act.” Eleven years later—now even more haunted by the impact of industrialization on the environment—the U.N. Secretary-General created the World Commission on Environment and Development (WCED). This commission soon took the name of the Commission’s dynamic chair, the former Norwegian Prime Minister, Gro Harlem Brundtland, and became known at the “Brundtland Commission.”


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